EU Delegation Head and Danish Ambassador: Next EU Presidency Aims for Responsible, Dynamic, Green and Safe Europe
In a panel discussion at the German Marshall Fund, Danish Ambassador to the United States, Taksoe-Jensen, expressed his country's commitment to achieving a "responsible, dynamic, green and safe Europe" during its EU Presidency. Noting the contrast to Denmark's narrow focus during its 2002 EU Presidency, Ambassador Taksoe-Jensen explained that the EU is facing a range of critical issues that are among the greatest in the history of the European Union. Ambassador Taksoe-Jensen was joined in the discussion by Joao Vale de Almeida, head of the delegation of the European Union, and Charles Kupchan, professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. Ivan Vejvoda, vice president of programs at GMF, moderatorated the discussion.
Outlining Denmark’s priorities for the next six months, Taksoe-Jensen emphasized that the Danish Presidency would see “Europe at work” with a strong emphasis on “rolling up our sleeves” to stimulate growth and create more jobs for Europeans. The Ambassador concluded his opening statements by adding that the transatlantic relationship is an important one with “so much to gain and nothing to lose.”
EU Delegation head Vale de Almeida concurred with the Ambassador that number of essential steps that must be taken to make progress in the EU. He also praised the recent affirmative Croatian vote for EU membership as well as the recent approval of a “robust” package of sanctions against Iran. He reemphasized the importance of the EU's partnership with the United States, stating that “in times of strategic challenges, you find out who your friends are.” Outlining his exceptions for 2012, Vale de Almeida reiterated the Ambassador’s emphasis on the need for EU jobs and growth as well as the importance of the U.S. and EU as global players who "must look at the global challenges."
Georgetown Professor Charles Kupchan provided his own appraisal of the EU's unique situation but noted that the discussion "one of the most upbeat conversations about Europe in some time." Dr. Kupchan emphasized that despite the many challenges, the economic outlook has improved in the past six months. Addressing the matter of transatlantic security, Dr. Kupchan pointed to the decreasing U.S. presence in Europe, which will prove to be a key issue in the coming months.